Are you tired of struggling through your workouts with uncomfortable shoes that just don't fit right? If so, we've got you covered. In this article, we're going to dive into the world of workout shoes and show you exactly how they should fit. But that's not all – we'll also unravel the mystery of the difference between shoes for weightlifting and cardio. To top it all off, we've meticulously selected the best workout shoes for women, so you don't have to waste any more time searching. Get ready to step up your fitness game with the perfect pair of workout shoes!
How should workout shoes fit?
Our experts agree that workout shoes should fit comfortably and snugly. Sharkey explains, "Workout shoes should fit well without the need for 'breaking in,' and they should have enough length to prevent toe cramping in the toe box."
Sharkey provides some helpful tips for identifying red flags when shopping for the best workout shoes for women. She warns, "Shoes that are excessively loose can lead to instability and increase the risk of injury. They can also cause blisters and skin irritation from excessive rubbing."
One hot tip from Sharkey is to shop for workout shoes at the end of the day. This is when your feet are most swollen, ensuring that your new shoes will fit well at all times.
Brenner emphasizes the importance of snug, but not too tight, workout shoes. She explains that the width and shape of the shoe should match the width and shape of your foot, and there should be about a thumbs-width distance between the tip of your big toe and the tip of the shoe.
What is the difference between shoes for weightlifting and shoes for cardio?
The main difference between shoes for weightlifting and cardio lies in their design. Weightlifting shoes prioritize stability, support, and a solid base for heavy lifts, while cardio shoes focus on cushioning, flexibility, and versatility to accommodate the various movements involved in cardio workouts. It is essential to choose the appropriate type of shoe based on the specific activities you engage in to ensure optimal performance, comfort, and safety.
According to our experts, the best way to prevent injury and perform at your best is to have a pair of shoes for each activity. Stern advises against lifting weights in running shoes, as they are not designed for that purpose. She also cautions against going for long-distance runs in weightlifting shoes.
If you don't have the space for multiple pairs of workout shoes, Stern recommends investing in a pair of running shoes with moderate cushioning that can be used for both running and cross-training. During weightlifting workouts, you can go barefoot as long as you take necessary precautions for safety.
Sharkey confirms that running shoes are more versatile and can be used for general workouts. Just make sure they fit your feet correctly.
Our picks of the best workout shoes for women:
- APMA certified and recommended by podiatrists
- High shock absorption
- Well cushioned
- Some reviews mention stiffness in the back of the arch
Premium meshPartially recycled liningsPadded collar
5-12 (half sizes available)wide sizes available
Designed specifically for a woman's unique foot shape, muscle movement, and build, Ryka's No Limit Training Shoe is one of the best shoes for gym workouts. It has received certification and recommendations from the APMA and podiatrists.
This shoe features premium mesh material, partially recycled linings, and a padded collar for added comfort. It is designed with a narrower heel, roomier toe, and softer foot cushioning.
The No Limit Training Shoe from Ryka is known for its exceptional shock absorption and well-cushioned support. It provides a comfortable and secure fit for women during their gym workouts.
- Sleek design
- 100% vegan materials
- Recommended by fitness trainers
5-11 (half sizes available)
APL's TechLoom Pro shoes are made from 100% vegan materials and have a sleek design. These shoes are ideal for dance cardio and other workouts that require agility and quick footwork.
The unique outsole design of the TechLoom Pro incorporates natural motion flex grooves, allowing for easy turning, spinning, and jumping. The shoe's upper construction is seamlessly woven from performance textiles, providing a perfect fit.
Fitness trainer Julia Stern highly recommends APL's TechLoom Pro shoes for dance cardio classes. While technically running sneakers, they offer enough cushioning without compromising stability during high-intensity movements.
These shoes are made from 100% vegan materials and are suitable for a range of workouts, including dance cardio.
Best weightlifting shoes: NoBull Womens Lifters
- Hand-made by skilled craftsmen
- Made with hand-selected, high-quality leather
- Wide, flat outsole
- Suitable for weightlifting only
Premium sourced leather
5-11 (half sizes available)
NoBull's womens lifters are handmade by skilled craftsmen using high-quality leather materials. These shoes have a wide, flat outsole that provides stability for weightlifting exercises.
The use of premium sourced leather ensures durability and long-lasting performance. NoBull's lifters are specifically designed for weightlifting and offer optimal support and stability during heavy lifts.
These weightlifting shoes may not be suitable for other activities and are relatively heavy. However, they are highly recommended for weightlifting exercises.
- Wide toe box
- Good grip
- Top pick from a chiropractor
High abrasion EVAAthletic rubber outsoleBreathable mesh
5.5-12 (half sizes available)wide sizes available
These shoes are featured in our roundup of the best gym shoes as the top pick for wide feet and the best weightlifting shoes for women. They are an excellent option for women with wider feet.
The unique minimalist design of these shoes provides ample room for those with wider feet to feel comfortable. Research shows that zero-drop shoes can reduce the risk of injury and improve power by placing the foot in a level position.
Altra's women's training shoe stands out by being molded around the unique shape of the female foot. It offers lightweight flexibility and moves seamlessly with the foot. The wide toe box, flexibility, and ample support make it an ideal choice for various workouts, including weightlifting.
These shoes are highly recommended by chiropractor and co-founder of Driven Fit, Sarah Sponaugle. They provide the necessary support and structure for weightlifting while activating the muscles in the feet.
- Good for hybrid training, weightlifting, and HIIT
- Easy to clean
- Fitness trainer approved
- No half sizes available
- Some reviews mention that the shoes run large
For those seeking style and functionality, Flux's Adapt Trainer is the perfect choice. This training shoe combines cutting-edge technology with a sleek and modern design.
Fitness trainer Julia Stern recommends these shoes for their groundbreaking and responsive sole technology, which adapts to the width of your foot. They offer excellent flexibility, stability, and advanced cushioning with 100 individual massaging cushions that mimic barefoot proprioception.
The wider toe box, ultra-flexible sole, and stretchability make these shoes a favorite among fitness trainers worldwide.
These shoes are suitable for hybrid training, weightlifting, and HIIT workouts. They are easy to clean and have received approval from fitness trainers.
- Extra cushioning for reduced impact
- Available in 14 fun colorways
- Less ankle support
5-11 (half sizes available)
The CloudMonster is aptly named, as it provides a maximalist cushioning experience akin to running on fluffy, cumulus clouds. It is a favorite among runners for its comfortable and lightweight design.
This shoe features On's signature CloudTec® technology, with an outsole comprised of individual cloud-like pods that adapt to your every movement. The advanced cushioning absorbs impact and provides a responsive feel.
The CloudMonster is particularly beneficial for long-distance runners who experience hip, knee, and joint pain. It offers excellent cushioning and support, allowing for pain-free and longer runs.
- Superior stability
- Customizable design
- Stylish aesthetics
- Some reviewers with narrow feet felt that the heel was too wide
3.5-23.5 (half sizes available)
Nike's gym shoe is a top choice among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It offers superior stability, a customizable design, and stylish aesthetics.
This shoe is known for its narrow toe box and snug fit, which provides excellent support during weightlifting, sprints, and other workouts. The slightly wider heel offers stability throughout the entire workout.
Nike is also committed to eco-conscious practices, and their website transparently shares their materials, processes, and movements toward a zero-waste future.
- Thick arch support
- American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance
- Removable insole for orthotics
- Not machine washable
- Some reviewers mention that they feel heavy
Water repellent leatherSuede uppers
5-12 (half sizes available)
Vionic is an APMA-certified brand known for its innovative and stylish orthopedic shoes and orthotic inserts. The Walker Shoe is designed to alleviate common foot-related issues such as plantar fasciitis, overpronation, and heel pain.
These shoes offer superior arch support, heel cushioning, and breathability. The premium, full-grain, water-repellent leather construction makes them both functional and fashionable.
The Walker Shoe from Vionic is suitable for all-day wear and is designed to accommodate custom orthotic inserts with its removable insole.
- Less ankle support compared to other shoes
Wipe-clean leatherSynthetic upperBreathable mesh
If you're a fan of pickleball, you'll need a pair of the best pickleball shoes to enhance your performance and comfort on the court. These shoes offer stability, traction, support, and style.
The sturdy rubber outsole and circle pivot point provide quick change of direction capabilities. The mesh upper promotes airflow, and the shoes come in various colorful and stylish designs. The wide and tall toe box prevents discomfort, and the extra padded midsole absorbs shock.
These shoes are specifically designed for pickleball and are highly recommended for anyone looking for stability, traction, and comfort during games.
- Maximalist cushioning and support
- Some recycled materials used
- Earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance
Semi-recycled polyesterMemory foamEVA midsoleRubber outsole
5-12 (half sizes available)wide sizes available
Hoka is a favorite among our experts for the best workout shoes for women. It is known for its maximalist cushioning and support, making it suitable for a wide range of workouts.
The Bondi 8 model features a rear crash pad for a soft and balanced ride, as well as softer and lighter foams for enhanced comfort. The extended heel geometry provides excellent offloading, ideal for those with high arches. These shoes are highly recommended for high-impact activities.
Hoka shoes are popular among runners and fitness enthusiasts alike. They offer great stability and support, making them a top choice for various workouts.
Finding the perfect workout shoes is an essential step towards achieving your fitness goals. Proper fit is crucial, ensuring comfort and preventing injuries. The specific needs of weightlifting and cardio exercises require different types of shoes. From our extensive research, we have curated a list of the best workout shoes for women, taking into consideration factors such as support, flexibility, and style. Whether you are hitting the gym or engaging in outdoor activities, these shoes will provide the perfect combination of performance and fashion. Invest in the right pair, and let your workout attire speak volumes about your dedication to a healthy lifestyle.